The Morrison Institute for Public Policy recently held an expert panel discussion about the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state of Arizona. Hosted at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus, the discussion was held in a roundtable panel style, and topics included financial regulation, taxation and public health and safety.
The purpose of the event was to start an open dialogue with voters to help them understand the most significant issues and to possibly help debunk some of the misinformation and rumors that run rampant among opponents of legalization.
Before the event, Thom Reilly, director of the Morrison Institute, commented:
“This discussion will help provide voters with pertinent information and perhaps a base for intelligent debate and deliberation in the future about an important decision that’s likely on Arizona’s near horizon.”
The recent successful legalization of recreational use in nearby states such as Colorado and Washington has shown that speculated negative effects such as distribution to minors, increased revenue to criminal cartels and the acceptance of driving under the influence of marijuana simply have not occurred. With protections such as the Cole Memorandum in place on a federal level to prevent against such repercussions, the state would have the authority to regulate all businesses that sell cannabis products, serving as a safeguard to public health and safety.
Many legalization rallies have been held in the Grand Canyon State, and legislation to legalize the recreational use of the plant has been introduced. As this issue becomes more prominent in the state, it is important for all residents to have a clear understanding of what legalization really means.
Currently, a doctor can prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes only, and its myriad health benefits are not only significant, but are also becoming more readily accepted and common in medical practices. As marijuana’s image begins to shift into a more positive light, proponents are hopeful that mindset will translate into a more widespread acceptance of legalizing recreational usage as well.